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Old 12-10-2015, 01:24 PM   #1
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West PA to Yellowstone and back?

Has anyone done an interesting loop from Pittsburgh(or close)to Yellowstone and back. Wanted to also take in Mt. Rushmore and more. Would love to hear your collective ideas on your past travels and experiences. Places to stay and see. Thanks for your interest. Can't wait until spring.
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:17 PM   #2
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First of all when we exit the Pittsburgh area we get ourselves to US 30 as fast as possible (Usually west of the Boardman area). We use that route to get ourselves south of Chicago. Our trip back from the Yellowstone area included the Badlands, Custer St Park, Rushmore etc. Just don't plan those stops the first week of if August as that is bike week in Sturgis. Your life will be stressful trying to navigate thru that event In eastern SD is the music museum on the campus of the University of SD. (Call ahead and if they don't have a tour bus coming you may get permission to park on the street out front. ). Hit the Amana Colonies in Iowa, the John Deere museums are great.
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Old 12-10-2015, 09:13 PM   #3
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In July 2013 left Southern NJ took the PA turnpike and went past the Pittsburgh exit on my way to Yellowstone. My first stop was at an Ohio Rest stop that had hookups ($20), then via I-80/I-90 went to Wisconsin Dells, MN, next night was Welcome, MN on I-90. Stopped and saw the Green Giant Statue and at Sioux Falls to see the falls, next night was at Al's Oasis at Chamberlain, SD, Next day we toured the Badlands, stopped at Wall Drugs, and stated several nights at Deadwood, SD. As I been to Mt. Rushmore before we passed on this time but this is the closest to it. Next stopped at Devil's Tower National Monument followed by Little Bighorn Battlefield and stayed the night at Billings, Mt. Next day we went to Cody, WY and stayed there going to the Rodeo, took the city tour, it's great place!!! did two night there and then four nights at Fishing Bridge Campground in Yellowstone, where we did upper loop one day and lower loop the next, and and spent the third day in the Grand Teton's. Exited via the west entrance went to Pocatello, ID along the way in Blackfoot, ID stopped at the Spud Museum, next headed towards Salt Lake City stopped at the Golden Spike Monument, spent the night in SLC and then headed via I-15/I-70 to Grand Junction, CO for the night. Next stop for three nights was Colorado Springs, CO saw Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs and visited a friend (did Pikes Peak, USAF Academy on a previous trip) from there headed to Sidney Nebraska stayed at the Cabala's Campground and visited the main store. Then on I-70 to Lincoln, NE stopping at Kearney, NE to view the Union Pacific Kearney Yards a must for anyone who likes trains. From there to Overland Park, KS via Omaha, NE for some BBQ, then on I-70 to St. Louis past the Arch and then to Springfield IL for Lincoln tomb and house, a night at Louisville, KY then up I-64 to I-79 towards Morgantown, WV with a couple of more overnight stops in WV and PA before getting back to home. Total was 28 days. Made reservation at all the stops because I wasn't sure what to expect in the summer. Needed them for about half of the stops. I am sure there is a lot more to see in the SD/WY/MT area especially if you add Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, and Crazy Horse Memorial which we visited before. First major trip after retirement so I probably had too many one night stays for most people. We had fun and we are planning the 2016 summer trip back through that area on the way to Glacier NP and trying to include a state fair or two.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:14 AM   #4
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Western PA to Yellowstone

Thanks for your responses! Your trips make me envious and I can't wait to get the MH out and GOING! Too bad about this winter thing. Guess it makes you appreciate spring and summer more. Will try to make a plan based on your info. Don't you love MHing?!
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:55 PM   #5
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I would second the Sturgis tip and also the Robmat and Nana25K list of places to visit. That was quite a trip in 28 days. We are WV natives that transplanted to OR in the 70s and have traveled back and forth between the states nearly every year with a TC to visit relatives, friends, and to see the sights along the way. We have been to nearly all the places Robmat and Nana25K list and those we have seen were all well worth visiting. We often go from WV to EAA Oshkosh, WI and travel I-90 on our way back. Once we stopped at a rest area on I-90 just after crossing the Mississippi for lunch. There is also a lock at that location for barges and other river traffic and at that time there was a string of barges getting ready to go through the locks. We walked down to the locks and watched. To me it was incredible to see that tug line all those barges up and get them into the locks with only a few feet of clearance on each side. It's amazing what you can see sometimes without planning anything.


Once you get to Yellowstone there are many more beautiful parks, NMs, and just beautiful country along the Rockies and elsewhere from glaciers to the north to deserts in the south and everything in between for you to see. I would plan a route back that would allow seeing as much of that as possible within your time constraints. We have always used a road atlas to plan our trips and still do, but I'm sure there are better ways with all the new technology that is available. IMHO, first determine what YOU would like to see, find the roads that take you there, and go. It is all beautiful. I feel sorry for those who fly and miss it all.


Just my 2c.


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Old 12-11-2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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In 2012 we traveled west for the summer from Central New York. Our first stop was Shipshewana, Indiana a must stop at the Flee Market which only runs Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Park right on the ground reasonable, plenty of shopping for everybody. Next we stopped at West Chicago to visit our son and family. We left there on a Monday and stopped in Moline area to check out the John Deere museums. There are two of them one in Downtown and one just east of town, which is the better one. We did Amana on an overnight, got there early afternoon and the one and only campground had a late check out, so we thought that was plenty of time. Traveling across Iowa we found a model train exhibit about 3 miles north of I-80 also interesting. We noted the wind sculptures at an Iowa highway rest stop made out of extra windmill parts, unique. We hit Omaha and thought 2 nights would be ample and ended up staying 4. I am a railfan also and there were at least 3 big museums plus the starting point of the Trans Con RR route in Council Bluffs. Don't miss the Dunham Museum in the old Train Station and Keneflick Park overlooking I-80 and the Missouri River. There are U-tube videos on how the moved the Big Boy and Centennial Locomotive to the park.

Leaving Omaha we stopped in North Platte, NE home of the worlds largest railyard, complete with the Golden Spike Tower overlooking the yard. A don't miss if you are a railfan. Next we headed to Cheyanne, WY, Besides a neat Train museum, in a Cowboy town, you might be able to get a tour of the shop where they are rebuilding the Big Boy and they maintain all of UP's heritage passenger fleet. Also the Famed Sherman Hill is just west of Cheyanne.

We headed north to Mt Rushmore and made stops along Oregon Trail in Fort Laramie where 3 of the westward trails converged. We spent several days in Mt. Rushmore as there is a lot to see there. We met up with several friends a went to The Newmar Rally in Gillette, WY, followed by the Western Caravan thru the mountains to Cody where we spent Fourth of July weekend. Then onward to Yellowstone for 5 days. Lots to see there could have stayed longer. Be sure you travel south the Teton Park and Jackson Hole the views are awesome.

The Caravan traveled north thru Montana to Glacier before ending an we continued even farther north to Golden BC, Lake Louise and Banff before returning to the East side of Glacier. On the way home we traveled across Route 2 all the way to Duluth, MN. one note don't plan to overnight in Williston, ND. There were 3 Campground listed and they all had their phone disconnected, Walmart only allowed a 3 hour stay. We continued on a found a Restaurant closed with a light on and parked in their lot. In the morning there were many trucks along side of us.

From Duluth we returned to Chicago for another weekend with the Grand kids before heading home.

We put 6600 miles on the Motorhome 3000 additional on the car, Took over 4000 picture in 11 weeks. Had a great time would jumpat the chance to do it again.

TOM
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:04 AM   #7
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I second the route 2 route. We took it heading West from Cape Cod to Alaska, it is a slower but a much more interesting route then an Interstate, unless you like, speed, the same views and want to watch trucks all day. Check out our website www.capecodtoalaska2014.com you will see how/where we traveled, recommendations, daily mileage and lots of pictures.


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Old 12-13-2015, 08:20 PM   #8
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Hello everybody. We live in Delaware and just bought our first ( new to us ) 2008 class A. My wife and I have two teenage kids and are looking to do a long trip this summer. We were originally thinking the Grand Canyon but after seeing this post we're reconsidering. We're thinking of going in July and it may be too hot along the Southern states. You have some great suggestions and I just wanted to say thank you for posting them. I'm new to the forum but am finding myself on here more and more now.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:26 PM   #9
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By the way. Are there any good suggestions about what campsites to stay at or how many hours I should plan on driving per day? Any good websites to help plan my trip?
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:12 PM   #10
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West PA to Yellowstone and back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vonguerrero View Post
Hello everybody. We live in Delaware and just bought our first ( new to us ) 2008 class A. My wife and I have two teenage kids and are looking to do a long trip this summer. We were originally thinking the Grand Canyon but after seeing this post we're reconsidering. We're thinking of going in July and it may be too hot along the Southern states. You have some great suggestions and I just wanted to say thank you for posting them. I'm new to the forum but am finding myself on here more and more now.

I wouldn't worry too much about the southern states in July. I've made quite a few trips in July and August and it's not a real issue as long as both your family and your vehicles are healthy. It probably is nice to travel this areas in the cooler spring and fall weather but with kids in school, that is hard to pull off for us.

We do make some concessions such as planning hikes early or late...we like to walk the west rim trail at the grand crayon starting as early as there is enough pre dawn light to see. We take food and lots of water and then just walk until we get tired or too hot...then jump on the bus.

Another great way to beat the heat at the canyon us to spend time on the north rim...it's almost always cooler there...sometimes by a large amount and there are some nice shaded areas all along the top.
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonguerrero View Post
Hello everybody. We live in Delaware and just bought our first ( new to us ) 2008 class A. My wife and I have two teenage kids and are looking to do a long trip this summer. We were originally thinking the Grand Canyon but after seeing this post we're reconsidering. We're thinking of going in July and it may be too hot along the Southern states. You have some great suggestions and I just wanted to say thank you for posting them. I'm new to the forum but am finding myself on here more and more now.
I did the Grand Canyon during July 2014 and it really wasn't a problem with the temperatures. I left Southern NJ mid July and hit the following Nashville, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Amarillo TX, Santa Fe NM, Durango CO, 4 Corners, Grand Canyon Southern Rim, Roswell NM (Great UFO Tour), Dallas TX, Henderson LA (Cajun Country), New Orleans, Stone Mountain GA, and home. Longest was four nights at GC the rest were two or three days with a few unnamed in between single night stays. Around a 28 day trip.

This pass summer 2015 we again left Southern NJ in Mid July touched down at Nashville, Memphis (Elvis & BBQ), Shreveport LA (stopped at the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush site), Luling TX (did San Antonio, Lockhart BBQ), Beaumont Tx, West Monroe LA (Duck Commander), Pigeon Forge TN (Smokey Mt NP), Endless Caverns VA, again mainly 2 or 3 day stays with a few unnamed one night stops. Temps in Texas were in the 100's but it wasn't bad. On the way back after leaving LA the rear AC failed but the front AC kept the coach cool enough. Again around 28 days.

The real issue is the humidity in some of the areas such as Louisiana. Nothing was worse that anything we had during some of the summer months at the Jersey Shore. Also remember some of the locations are at higher altitudes which are cooler to start with. For Example on the Grand Canyon trip I had an altitude issue with the refrigerator at the Grand Canyon where the propane went off due to the elevation. Pigeon Forge was chilly in the mornings on some of the days we stayed there.
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Old 12-14-2015, 07:32 PM   #12
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Thank you everybody for your great suggestions. We would like to take about a 30 day trip and want to head out West driving about 8 hours a day but staying at the most interesting sites for a couple of days. I'm still on the fence between GC and Yellowstone. I appreciate all your help.
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Old 12-14-2015, 09:06 PM   #13
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So much to do between Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. Can you spend the summer?

From the canyon take Hwy 89 north. First, there's Page, AZ and a tour of Antelope slot canyon. Then mosey over to Zion Nat'l Park, then continue on Hwy 89 to Hwy 12 and Bryce Nat'l Park. If you continue on Hwy 12 you'll come to Capitol Reef Nat'l Park. A little further east is Arches Nat'l Park.

Of course there are many secondary roads to take but you could also then get on I-70 west to I-15 through Salt Lake City for some touring. Before Yellowstone don't forget to save at least 3 days for Grand Teton Nat'l Park right next door. Then drive through the south entrance of Yellowstone to your destination.

The national parks are there for a reason. You won't find anything like them!
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:28 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Nana25K;2856985 Our trip back from the Yellowstone area included the Badlands, Custer St Park, Rushmore etc. Just don't plan those stops the first week of if August as that is bike week in Sturgis. Your life will be stressful trying to navigate thru that event.[/QUOTE]

FYI, 2016 Sturgis Bike week is Aug 8-14. Just when we planned to be there We don't plan to go to Sturgis but rather Mt. Rushmore/Badlands/Rapid City. Do the Sturgis Bikers spill over to the entire area, Nana25K?

Also, Robmat, I'm curious to know:

1. Where you stayed in Cody?
2. Where you stayed in Salt Lake City?
3. Were you able to drive from Yellowstone through Idaho to Salt Lake City all in one day?
4. Where did you stay in Colorado Springs?
5. Did you spend the night in St. Louis? If so, where?

Thank you,

McGarrett
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